Depression is an illness that leaves you feeling constantly sad. It is one of the most common mental health issues with an estimated 350 million people worldwide suffering from it. There is a lot of stigma associated with depression so these numbers may be much higher due to the fact that not everyone suffering seeks help.
While we may all suffer from periods of sadness every now and again, depression is more than this. This sadness can overwhelm a person to the point of not being able to fully function and get through their day. Just getting out of bed in the morning may use an excessive amount of energy and will power. Depression leads to a lack of interest in doing things, withdrawing from others, feelings of hopelessness, and a lack of energy.
Depression is often the result of an imbalance in the brain chemicals or hormones. However, depression can also be the result of nutrient deficiencies. According to Authority Health, the foods you eat can play a role in your mood and benefit a healthy mind. This makes sense as the different nutrients in food affect our body. And when these are lacking, it takes a toll. Before jumping straight to prescription antidepressants, it is important for your doctor to do a full blood screening to make sure that nothing else could be causing your symptoms. A deficiency in the following nutrients could also be the reason for your depression.
It is estimated that the majority of people are deficient in magnesium – about 90%! This mineral is extremely important for a big chunk of the chemical reactions in the body, playing an important role on our metabolism, blood pressure and immune system. Our current lifestyles seem to be the main reason behind this magnesium deficiency epidemic. The soil that our veggies grow in has become depleted of magnesium which means lower amounts in our food. Stress also contributes to magnesium deficiency as does consuming a diet high in calcium. It is recommended to consume between 400 and 420 mg a day for men and 310 and 320 mg a day for women.
Iron deficiency, also known as anemia, results in the body not having enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the various tissues of the body. This may leaving you feeling fatigued and weak, which are also symptoms of depression. The reason for this deficiency may be the result of blood loss, which puts women at a higher risk, particularly if they have heavy periods. This blood loss could also be the result of a number of internal issues and occur slowly over time. Pregnancy, a diet deficient in iron, and the inability to absorb iron are the leading causes of iron deficiency anemia. Foods that are high in iron include red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and cereals that have been fortified with iron.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the functioning of our body. However, the body can’t make them so they need to be obtained from your diet. These fatty acids play a fundamental role in healthy brain functioning as well as normal growth. They are also important for warding off heart disease and other chronic health conditions, including depression. Mood swings, depression, fatigue, and dry skin are all signs of an omega-3 deficiency. Fatty fish provide the best source of omega-3. However, if you are not a big fish eater, you should consider taking an omega-3 supplement.
Also referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is primarily manufactured in the body when exposed to sunlight. It is also found in certain foods such as egg yolks and dairy and cereals that have been fortified. This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium which is important for healthy bones. Current research has also found it to be very beneficial for protecting against a range of health issues including depression, autism, and dementia. You may be deficient in vitamin D if you don’t spend much time outdoors in the sunlight, you have darker skin, or your diet is lacking.
Depression is a serious health concern that needs professional guidance. If you are feeling depressed, it is important to get help. Don’t feel embarrassed – it is a common health issue where the cause is no fault of your own. Have your doctor do a blood screening to rule out any other health conditions or deficiencies that may be the cause of your symptoms. With the right help, you should be able to get your depression under control and live a fully functional life.